Tax Credit for Hiring Veterans

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Besides honesty, loyalty, and responsibility, veterans may bring you a tax cut.

By Barbara Weltman

Many employers have come to learn that veterans make excellent employees. They usually are easily trainable and possess desirable characteristics, such as honesty, loyalty, and responsibility. If these attributes were not enough to induce employers to hire veterans, the tax law offers even more. The tax law encourages employers to hire certain targeted groups of workers by offering a tax credit tied to the wages of these new employees, and certain veterans are treated as a targeted group. Here are the special rules to know when hiring so that you may take credit where credit is due.

Which veterans qualify?

As a small business owner, you qualify for the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) if you hire a veteran who falls into any of the following categories:

  • Having a service-related disability
  • Unemployed for a specified period
  • Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits

However, even if a veteran does not fall within any of these categories, he or she may still be a member of another targeted group. This would still allow you to take a tax credit. For example, a veteran who has been a member of a family that received TANF payments for at least 18 consecutive months is treated as a member of a targeted group for long-term family assistance recipients.

What is the tax credit amount?

The tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar-for-dollar, so each $1 of WOTC saves you $1 in taxes. The credit is based on the amount of wages paid to an eligible veteran in the first year of employment. The maximum tax credit is based on a set percentage of maximum first-year wages, which is fixed by law, and the number of hours worked. For example, for veterans, the basic percentage of first-year wages is 25 percent for those who worked at least 120 hours but fewer than 400 hours; it is 40 percent for those who worked at least 400 hours.

The maximum credit for a veteran working at least 400 hours is:

  • Service-related disability and unemployed at least 6 months in the year ending in the hiring year: $9,600 ($24,000 in wages × 40%).
  • Service-related disability and hired within 1 year of discharge or release from active duty: $4,800 ($12,000 in wages × 40%)
  • Unemployed at least 6 months: $5,600 ($14,000 in wages × 40%)
  • Unemployed at least 4 weeks: $2,400 ($6,000 in wages × 40%)
  • Receiving SNAP benefits: $2,400 ($6,000 in wages × 40%)

There is no limit on the number of eligible employees you can hire for the credit. For example, if you hire 3 veterans with service-related disabilities who are unemployed at least 6 months, your credit is $28,800 ($9,600 × 3).

The WOTC is set to run through 2019, and you can take the credit year after year as you expand the size of your staff. Thus, even if you take a tax credit for hiring a veteran in 2016, you can do so again next year.

Other rules

Being eligible for the credit isn’t enough to claim it on your return. To take the tax credit, you must submit IRS Form 8850 to your state workforce agency within 28 days of the first day of employment. Also submit ETA Form 9061, or ETA Form 9062 if the employee has already been conditionally certified as belonging to a targeted group at the same time. The purpose of these submissions is to confirm that your new employee is indeed a member of a targeted group.

The credit is claimed on IRS Form 5884, which is attached to the employer’s income tax return.

Something to think about

When hiring, keep the WOTC in the back of your mind. While it may not be a primary factor in making a hiring decision, it may just be the tipping point in favor of one applicant over another.

Source: sba.gov

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs?

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Builder team meeting and planning for renovation office project. worker contractor talking with architect and discussing about job.

Let’s be honest—who doesn’t want to earn more money? While salary is far from the only thing that matters when considering a career path, it is definitely an important factor.

Figuring out what a job pays will help you, in part, decide whether or not a field is right for you.

Recently, the Economic Research team at Glassdoor sifted through the millions of data points on our site to identify which jobs pay top dollar.

See below for a preview of the top 15 highest-paying positions.

1 Physician
Median Base Salary: $193,415
Number of open jobs: 40,000+

2 Pharmacy Manager
Median Base Salary: $144,768
Number of open jobs: 4,200+

3 Dentist
Median Base Salary: $142,478
Number of open jobs: 11,600+

4 Pharmacist
Median Base Salary: $126,438
Number of open jobs: 7,967

5 Enterprise Architect
Median Base Salary: $122,585
Number of open jobs: 16,900+

6 Corporate Counsel
Median Base Salary: $117,588
Number of open jobs: 4,900+

7 Software Engineering Manager
Median Base Salary: $114,163
Number of open jobs: 21,500+

8 Physician Assistant
Median Base Salary: $113,855
Number of open jobs: 41,800+

9 Corporate Controller
Median Base Salary: $113,368
Number of open jobs: 7,400+

10 Software Development Manager
Median Base Salary: $109,809
Number of open jobs: 50,100+

11 Nurse Practitioner
Median Base Salary: $109,481
Number of open jobs: 19,500+

12 Applications Development Manager
Median Base Salary: $107,735
Number of open jobs: 32,100+

13 Solutions Architect
Median Base Salary: $106,436
Number of open jobs: $59,500

14 Data Architect
Median Base Salary: $104,840
Number of open jobs: 21,700+

15 Plant Manager
Median Base Salary: $104,817
Number of open jobs: 6,500+

Methodology
Glassdoor’s 25 Highest-Paying Jobs in America report identifies the jobs with the highest annual median base salary, using a proprietary statistical algorithm to estimate annual median base pay, which controls for factors such as location and seniority. Job titles must receive at least 100 salary reports shared by U.S.-based employees over the past year (7/01/18–6/30/19).

The number of job openings per job title represents active job listings on Glassdoor as of 8/26/19. This report takes into account job title normalization that groups similar job titles. C-suite level jobs were excluded from this report.

Companies who love to hire veterans

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picture of a magnet plucking a veteran like figure out the rest of the line up

These veteran-friendly companies offer everything from transition assistance to hiring bonuses.

By Lillian Childress

Returning to the workforce after a career in the military can have unique challenges, and some companies recognize that. We’re highlighting companies that make a special effort to provide resources for the veterans they employ and their families.

Last year, Glassdoor interviewed Mike Hansen, the national director of military affairs at Power Home Remodeling, who talked about returning to the workforce after his deployment.

“After the shock factor of not being in the military anymore subsides, it’s all about how quickly you can apply the skills that you developed in the military. This application phase is the biggest differentiator of success—if veterans can focus on understanding, ‘I bring all these attributes, now it’s just about applying them to a different environment,’ they can find proficiency more quickly.”

Power Home Remodeling is just one of the companies leading the charge in facilitating veteran success in the workforce, offering a $3,000 hiring bonus for veterans. The list we’ve drawn up here highlight companies who are going the extra mile for veterans:

Booz Allen Hamilton

Where Hiring: Washington, DC; Arlington, VA; Fort Meade, MD; Falls Church, VA; Bethesda, MD; McLean, VA; Rockville, MD; Reston, VA; Chantilly, VA, & more.

Resources for Veterans: If you’re a veteran at Booz Allen Hamilton, you’ll be in good company: one-third of the company’s workforce are veterans. The company has multiple military-focused employee forums that offer networking and career training, and serve as knowledge bases for veterans and military spouses. Booz Allen also offers enviable benefits for reservists, including differential pay for up to 6 months, and continuing health and retirement benefits for the duration of an employee’s active duty assignment.

What Employees Say: “Great option for transitioning veterans to get their ‘foot-in-the-door’ in the commercial sector.” (from a current employee)

Walgreens

Where Hiring: Centreville, VA; Largo, MD; Washington, DC; Miami, FL; Worcester, MA; Oakland Park, FL; Hurst, TX; Porter, TX; Orlando, FL; Falls Church, VA, & more.

Resources for Veterans: Walgreens offers a number of specialized programs for veterans, including their HERO Program, which includes retail management training, on-the-job mentorship, and program support for veterans. The chain also offers military leave and military bridge pay to eligible team members, as well as multiple resource groups for veterans.

What Employees Say: “I love working at Walgreens. I’ve been there since February 2017 and very quickly moved up in the company from Customer Service Associate, to Designated Hitter (which means I can also work in the pharmacy), to Shift Lead. This shows that if you work hard and have good customer and communication skills, you have a lot of opportunity here.” (from a current shift leader)

Power Home Remodeling

Where Hiring: Greenbelt, MD; Alexandria, VA; Philadelphia, PA; Tampa, FL; Arlington, VA; Canton, MI

Resources for Veterans: Power Home Remodeling is one of the leaders in innovative veteran employment programs, offering – get this – a $3,000 hiring bonus for both veterans and military spouses. The company also offers numerous programs to help integrate, train, and retain veterans.

What Employees Say: “Getting out of the army and finding a good job was hard for me. Power is the first place to not only recognize the leadership qualities that veterans have but to also recreate the feeling of comradery I felt in the military. It’s hard to put into words, but they somehow make me want to try my best each day” (from a current outbound marketer)

 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Where Hiring: Washington, DC; Bronx, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Hayward, WI; Austin, TX; Athens, GA; Miami, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Fayetteville, AR; Chillicothe, OH, & more.

Resources for Veterans: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs knows how to value veterans. They offer a host of benefits for veterans that choose to work for them, including specialized tools and programs to help transition into civilian life, tuition assistance and loan repayment programs to help facilitate education, as well as a host of hiring initiatives and incentive programs.

What Employees Say: “Great mission, incredible benefits, good work/life balance.” (current physician)

Southwest Airlines

Where Hiring: Arlington, VA; Dallas, TX; Atlanta, GA; San Jose, CA; Orlando, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Richmond, VA; Pittsburgh, PA; Cleveland, OH, & more.

Resources for Veterans: A significant portion of the Southwest Airlines workforce comes from the military, with over 8,000 employees who have served or are actively serving, and more than 1,300 employees who are military spouses. Southwest offers a number of programs that help veterans transition into private sector jobs. Their website also features a military skills translator tool, where military members can enter their military job title or code to see the currently available opportunities at Southwest that align with their experience.

What Employees Say: “Culture is awesome. Lots of fun events throughout the year. Very family-oriented atmosphere. Flight benefits are great. Generally, you’re not expected to bring work home. Very stress-free environment. Benefits package is great. Profit sharing is great, 401k match is unheard of at 9.3 percent, and stock purchase plan is great.” (from a current yield analyst)

Boeing

Where Hiring: Chantilly, VA; Annapolis Junction, MD; Manassas, VA; Washington, DC; Herndon, VA; Hanover, MD; Aurora, CO; Oklahoma City, OK; Huntsville, AL; Tukwila, WA, & more.

Resources for Veterans: Boeing is committed to hiring veterans, as they make up 15 percent of the company’s workforce. Over 800 veteran-specific programs and organizations were supported by Boeing and its employees in 2018, and the company offers more than 30 veteran-focused employee engagement teams. These include skill development and workforce transition training, supporting recovery and rehabilitation programs that focus on post-traumatic stress, and promoting employee volunteering in veteran communities, according to Boeing’s website.

What Employees Say: “Industry leading pay and benefits. Largest aerospace company in the world. Lots of flexibility in assignments and projects. Good opportunities for continued education and career growth.” (from a current senior systems engineer)

The Home Depot

Where Hiring: Bloomfield, NJ; Plainfield, IL; El Cerrito, CA; Odessa, TX; Tempe, AZ; Southfield, MI; Bolingbrook, IL; Hawthorne, NY; Vancouver, WA; Miami, FL, & more.

Resources for Veterans: Already famous for their 10 percent discount for retired military members, Home Depot has also a strong commitment towards hiring veterans, with 55,000 hired since 2012. At Home Depot, an associate-run group called Military Appreciation Group, or MAG, helps veterans transition back into the working world and supports the families of deployed military members.

What Employees Say: “The Home Depot is a really employee-oriented business. They allow you to grow and gain the skills needed in case you decide to move to another position. They are very flexible with your schedule.” (from a current appliance sales specialist)

Other Opportunities

Did you drive trucks or other large vehicles in the military? Right now, there’s an extreme shortage of qualified truck drivers in today’s pool of job seekers, and military veterans are the ideal candidate for this type of job. Some trucking companies are actively seeking out military veterans for positions at their companies. Drive My Way, a company that matches CDL truck drivers and owner operators with jobs, offers a list of trucking companies hiring veterans for you to consider, including Holland and Oldcastle.

Source: glassdoor.com

Veteran Skills Translate to Private Sector in Many Ways

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transitioning-military

By Sara Slettebo

Military veterans have many ways to benefit your business. They have extensive skills and offer a broad spectrum of experience. Not only are they
trained to fight for our country, but they are also trained for individual job responsibilities that translate well into the private sector.

Here are five ways veterans can be a good fit for your business:

40+ Occupation Groups

Across all branches of the military, there are more than 40 occupational groups. These range from accounting to transportation, with military occupational groups aligning with almost every civilian business. There are occupational groups for administration positions, supply and logistics, information technology, and many more. Many military members also receive training in various medical and dental occupations, and veterinary fields as part of their military career.

2100+ Job Categories

There are more than 2,100 jobs available to members of the U.S. Navy, Army, Marine Corps or Air Force. These jobs sometimes can have military occupation codes associated with them, or include military terminology, but all jobs can be related to a civilian counterpart. Finding the precise military job(s) applicable to your company is easy. There are several tools used to help businesses find the right candidates. AVFE’s proprietary VAST Database allows searching by keyword, business area or certification level, as well as other criteria.

Technical and Managerial Fields

Military jobs are categorized into either technical or managerial fields, or (in some cases of senior enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers), they can be both. As a general rule of thumb, the enlisted ranks tend to be more technical in nature with leadership experience gained by progressing through the ranks. Officer ranks are more management based throughout their careers. Most jobs in the military have both a technical and managerial aspect and would be advantageous to any company.

Leadership and Ethics

Military personnel receive an abundance of leadership and ethics training. No matter the rank or rate, service members are taught the importance of sound leadership and solid ethics from the first day of boot camp. They continue to ‘practice’ their leadership as service members earn promotions. Ethics play a large part in all aspects of being in the military. With their leadership experience and firm ethical foundation, veterans would be an asset for any company.

Can-Do Attitudes

Many times in the military, soldiers and sailors are given a mission or goal, which seems insurmountable, but they are able to achieve it through hard work and never giving up. Military members have positive attitudes that can help any business accomplish their goals.

There are talented, experienced and waiting to become a member of your team, so hire one today!

Source: Association of Veteran Friendly Employers

The U.S. Is Starting the 2020s with Over 7 Million Job Openings

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CDL Commercial Driver Inside of His Truck

America is entering the 2020s with more than 7.3 million job openings — about three times as many as it began the last decade.

The figures based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data through October (the latest available), reflect a decade of steady economic growth few would have predicted in December 2009, in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

And while finding a new job is never easy, your odds look pretty good right now, with 1.4 million more job openings than unemployed job seekers.

So which industries have the most jobs available right now?

Hotel and restaurants have the highest share of openings, with 5.5% of all jobs open, according to the BLS. Trucking and warehouse workers are also in demand, with about 5.4% of jobs open. Meanwhile miners and loggers are most likely to have trouble finding work, with only about 2.7% of those jobs open.

Ready to polish up your resume? Check out our guide to updating your resume here.

For smart job seekers, resumes are an opportunity — to make a case for their candidacy, to get the salary they’ve earned, and to convince any hiring manager she would be crazy not to hire them.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

For U.S. Veterans Magazine’s list of nationwide job openings click here.

Best Careers After Military Service

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man sitting at a desk at work smiling witha rms folded in work casual clothes

By Navy Federal

Did you know more than 250,000 military members transition military members transition out of the service each year? The transition to civilian life is a big moment for servicemembers.

To help them land on their feet and enjoy long-term career success, we asked veterans nationwide what they value most in a civilian career—like location, compensation or working at a purpose-driven organization. We then partnered with Hire Heroes USA®* to identify industries and career paths that meet the values that matter most to servicemembers.

Here are the top 10 industries we identified as best after military service.

Best Careers After Service

Health Care
It’s not surprising that the health care industry is the #1 match for veterans’ goals, given the competitive salaries and how well jobs match military experience. Two other benefits that stood out were the strong sense of community and teamwork within the health care industry and its opportunities to help people. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Hospital Operations/Logistics
Registered Nurse (RN)
Medical Research
Administration (data, records, hospital functionality)

Government / Public Administration
Believe it or not, 1 in 4 vets do some sort of government work. The combination of a competitive salary, opportunities for career growth, a match for military experience/skills, consistent work location and flexible hours/schedule checks a lot of our vets’ boxes. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Administration
Program Analyst
Public Affairs

Defense Contracting
Defense contracting is most popular among vets 45 and younger. Top reasons? Competitive salaries, working for a mission-driven organization, having work suited to military experience and skills, and special programs for vets. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Analyst
Intelligence Specialist
Contract Management Specialist
Quality Assurance Manager

Information Technology
In an increasingly digital world, careers in the IT field are becoming more popular and lucrative. IT jobs provide competitive salaries, clear advancement paths and a ton of training and development opportunities. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Project Manager
Systems Engineer
Cyber Security
Data Analyst
Information Security Analyst

Financial Services
Financial services careers work particularly well for younger vets, with more than 1 in 10 in related jobs. Matching benefits include a clear advancement path, training, development and creative/strategic opportunities, and competitive salaries. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Analyst
Financial Advisor
Finance Manager
Accountant

Education
The education industry matches veterans’ desires for a mission-driven/team-oriented environment, mentorship opportunities and a consistent work location. For these and many other reasons, 13 percent of those with college degrees end up in education. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Education Counselor
Curriculum Development Specialist
Instruction
Education Administration

Law Enforcement
Law enforcement is one of the industries most suited for—and comparable to—military experience and skills. It offers clear career advancement and fulfills the desire for a mission-driven, team-oriented environment. It’s particularly popular among those living in the western US and those who transitioned in 2001 or later. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Police Officer
Crime Scene Investigator
Emergency Dispatch
Corrections Officer

Retail
Retail, unlike other industries on our list, offers incredibly flexible work schedules, along with a consistent work location, a goal-oriented environment and the opportunity to be self-motivated. Veteran employment in retail is highest among those 45 and older. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Sales Manager
Marketing and Branding
Warehouse Logistics
Buyer

Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the leading industry for vets without a college degree and for those over 35. This industry matched their desire for a good salary, consistent work location and a team environment. Plus, they can take advantage of specialized training for career growth. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Floor Manager
Maintenance Technician
Production Supervisor
Product Line Operator
Machine Operator

Transportation/Warehousing

Rounding out our top 10 list for careers that match what vets value is transportation/warehousing, which gives them an opportunity to work with their hands and not have to sit at a desk in a traditional 9 to 5 job. Similar to manufacturing, this industry provides specialized training to advance in the field. It also allows them to be involved with a mission-driven organization and is well-suited to their military experience and skills. Some of the most popular career paths include:

Driver
Logistics/Distribution Manager
Warehouse Manager
Package Handler
GiS Specialist

Planning for a career after service also means having a financial plan to match. There are differences in insurance and retirement savings when you leave the military, and your expenses and income may change, too. Navy Federal Credit Union is proud to offer tools, tips and resources to help servicemembers succeed as they transition to the civilian world.

Continue on to Navy Federal to read the complete article.

Your Guide to Launching a Civilian Career

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Soldier and civilian shaking hands on blurred background

Five steps to identifying your post-military career goals

By Jeff McMillan, Chief Analytics and Data Officer, Morgan Stanley

Over 25 years ago, I left the U.S. Army to pursue a civilian career. I loved serving my country, but it was time to do something different.
The military builds valuable skills, but often does not prepare veterans for the process of finding a job after leaving the service. Most transitioning veterans struggle with uncertainty over how to launch a new career, simply because no one has taught them the “do’s and don’ts” of identifying job opportunities, networking, interviewing, etc.

Based on my own experience and my time spent counseling hundreds of veterans in the years since, the following steps can help veterans determine what career direction to pursue and how to position themselves to employers as qualified candidates.

  1. Examine your skills and interests

Most individuals I speak to have little or no clue what they want to do post-military. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about being unsure, because it takes time and exploration to figure out what kinds of jobs might be a good fit for your interests and expertise. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • List the skills that set you apart from other candidates (make sure to use language that non-military people can understand). For example: “I know how to manage and motivate people.”
  • Next, describe the kind of work that you enjoy (or don’t). For example: “I get bored by routine work and like to tackle new issues/problems.”

It may take some time to gather and articulate these skills and interests. Your objective is to outline who you are and what you like. You will use this information as a point of reference for evaluating potential career opportunities.

  1. Research relevant opportunities

Once you have a sense of your skills and interests, use that knowledge to determine which roles suit you best. The best way to do this is by talking to a lot of people. Ask what they do, what they like and don’t like about their jobs, and what skills are necessary for success. After every conversation, ask yourself if the role you discussed is aligned with your skills and interests. Keep in mind that you’re not looking for a “perfect” job, but rather deepening your understanding of various career possibilities. Other useful resources include:

  • Job descriptions
  • Companies’ websites and mission statements
  • Relevant trade publications
  • Career fairs
  1. Determine whether you need further education

One of the first questions people ask when transitioning to non-military jobs is “Should I go back to school?”

The answer depends on what kind of career you decide to pursue. Some jobs require an advanced degree; for others, you’ll need a specialized certification. As you research opportunities, ask people about their educational backgrounds. Keep in mind that some (but not all) employers favor candidates who attended competitive or prestigious institutions. If you do go back to school, make an effort to excel—employers will look at your GPA.

  1. Develop a crisp and clear message

Many individuals leaving the military hesitate to self-promote, because they’ve been trained to put aside their egos for the benefit of the broader mission. But in the civilian world, if you don’t promote yourself, no one else will. As a job seeker, you need a simple, direct set of talking points that tells people what you want to do and why you’re a fit for the role in three minutes or less:

  • One minute on your background and differentiated skills
  • One minute on the opportunity you’re seeking
  • One minute on why you would be a great fit for the role

As you draft and refine your “elevator pitch,” remember to use language that non-military personnel can understand, and to connect your skills and interests to the role you are seeking in a way that demonstrates you understand the responsibilities the job entails.

  1. Find a mentor

A mentor is a trusted advisor who can help you learn about your field of choice, provide honest feedback and advice, make networking introductions, and generally serve as a sounding board during your job search. You can find a mentor among your existing connections, or look into American Corporate Partners, which offers free one-year mentorship programs for transitioning veterans. Be upfront with your mentor about how much time you’d like them to commit (such as a 30-minute meeting or phone call once a month), and prepare ahead of time to make your sessions as productive as possible.

Embarking on a new career after serving in the military can seem daunting or intimidating to even the most decorated veterans. Breaking the process down into manageable steps, laying a solid foundation based on your interests and skills, and leaning on others for guidance and support can help set you up for success.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management or its affiliates. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is a business of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC.

Military Leaders Make Great Accountants

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military veteran sitting at desk in civilian clothes giving a thumbs up

 And why being an accountant is ‘cooler’ than you think

It’s true. And here’s why: the skills required to be an exceptional leader in the military—problem solving, strategy, planning, teamwork, attention to detail, and a strong work ethic—are the same skills required to be a successful accountant. In fact, major corporations and public accounting firms alike look for these “soft skills” first when they build out their teams.

Among these skills, leadership may be the most important. Companies place a high value on incoming employees who are boardroom-ready and who possess the maturity to work in client-facing situations. They often find these leadership attributes in those transitioning out of the military.

Of course, accounting knowledge and skills are required, too. But, with an undergraduate degree—any undergraduate degree—these skills can be gained in as little as one year. In fact, some graduate schools have designed their Master of Accounting degrees to cater specifically to those with little or no accounting experience. And, to make things more convenient for those already working, or serving, some programs are now fully online, allowing students to log in from anywhere in the world.

Accounting is challenging, but it’s also straightforward. Less math than you might think; it’s more about organization and documentation. Less rigid than you might think; there’s actually a good deal of judgement and flexibility. And, because they regularly work on teams and with clients, accountants are less “back-office number cruncher,” more “proactive communicator.”

But, why accounting? Hmmm…why not? Accounting is very popular career choice. Accountants make strong starting salaries and see rapid salary progressions—even those just entering the workforce top six figures after just five years. Accountants are also in serious demand, both in public accounting firms and on corporate finance teams.

And, accounting is cooler, and way more important, than you think. Accountants help businesses make critical fiscal decisions that can shape investor confidence. Auditors verify transactions, protecting companies from allegations of fraud and criminal misstatement. Tax strategists uncover opportunities for significant savings. At more senior levels, those with an accounting background often fill key seats in the C-suite: CEO, CFO, or VP of Finance.

For those in the military planning to transition into the private sector, or for those continuing to build a career within the military, a Master of Accounting degree is a key step toward lucrative accounting and finance positions. The degree also prepares students, and provides the necessary education credits, to sit for the CPA exam, the key professional credential within the accounting field.

As noted above, some schools offer online programs that allow students to earn the degree from anywhere in the world while continuing to work or travel. The best programs leverage webcam-connected classrooms to bring students together for live, interactive discussions and learning management systems that deliver course lectures via recorded video.

The online Master of Accounting (MAC) degree from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School can give your career the boost it needs.

Source: UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Standard Operating Procedures for the Military Transition Process

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Veteran looking at iPad for education news witha flag in the background

By Brian Niswander

For the past decade, I’ve conducted interviews and collected data from thousands of veterans and spouses about their transition out of the military and into the civilian workforce.

After countless hours analyzing survey data and comments, I’m convinced that a successful transition embodies five key elements.

After making this discovery, I started thinking about my time in uniform and the importance of adhering to Standard Operating Procedures.

I couldn’t help but remember how we had procedures and checklists for important mission activities, and I think we owe the same level of rigor to veterans as they consider their future transition.

Based upon extensive research conducted by the team at Military-Transition.org, I developed a 5-step process to reduce confusion and increase the chances for success during the transition process:

#1 – Start Preparing Early

The data is clear and the majority of veterans surveyed (84%) indicate that starting early is critical to a successful transition. Unfortunately, this is seldom as easy as it sounds. Today’s ops-tempo requires military members to focus on the mission for the majority of their day. While finding time for things outside of the mission and family can be challenging, the advice from veterans is simple—you must find a way. There’s nothing unpatriotic about thinking and planning for what follows your military service. I tell serve members to start considering what’s next at least 24 months ahead of their transition. Starting this far ahead will pay dividends and will enable you to begin focusing on those transition elements which require time and effort to accomplish.

#2 – Have a Transition Plan

Your initial plan doesn’t have to be complex, but should include goals, enabling activities, and timelines. These can change as you progress, but you need to have a starting point. Your first goal might be to research and learn more about industries, organizations or positions that align with your existing skills. Maybe you’d like to do something completely different in the civilian workforce and need to begin exploring new and different opportunities which are outside your comfort zone. Activities may include reading books, journals, blogs and newsletters about these fields. Those considering an educational program might explore what programs are available and what career opportunities result from attaining that degree, certification, or license. In all cases, start connecting with those who transitioned before you, and others who can assist and might become mentors along the way.

#3 – Build Your Network

Of all the advice I’ve gathered over the past decade, this is the most recommended element of a successful transition. You can utilize social media (LinkedIn) and identify individuals to connect with, organizations of interest, and potential opportunities to learn about. You should also become active in community groups and build contacts through face-to-face networking. Engage with other military members, veterans, and civilians to understand their career experiences, education, and training programs. Successful networking not only helps you learn about post-military life, but it will also help you learn a new language which I call “the language of civilians.” Trust me, you need to speak their language—this is critical for the next element of a successful transition.

#4 – Learn to Translate your Skills

Of all the elements within the transition process, this activity will require the most effort. Translating your skills results in a strong resume, good interviewing skills, and the ability to demonstrate your value to a potential employer. Practice is essential to success and you must consistently demonstrate how your skills add value when networking. Ask for feedback and make continual improvements. This will require time to accomplish, but it’s worth the investment.

#5 – Be Patient

Almost half of the veterans surveyed (48%) claim their transition was ‘more difficult than expected’ and more than half (59%) say it ‘required more time than expected’. Take the time, do the research, build your network, learn how to translate your skills, and be patient along the way. You didn’t become a soldier, sailor, airperson, marine or coast guard person overnight, so don’t expect the transition to be quick. Remember that patience and persistence are key throughout the transition process.

Brian Niswander is the Founder of Military-Transition.org, an organization that uses data analytics and visualizations to assist military members with their transition into the civilian workforce. He started Military-Transition.org after identifying a need for data-driven-solutions which inform and guide veteran decision making during the reintegration process. Brian was an Air Force intelligence officer and now provides ‘transition intelligence’ to educate military families. His work has been featured in numerous publications along with radio and podcast interviews. His background includes analytic and leadership positions within the consumer goods industry along with management, strategic planning and marketing in public and private organizations. Brian has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a BS in Behavioral Science/Human Factors Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Your Guide to Launching a Civilian Career

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man wearing a military uniform on left and a suit on the right

By Jeff McMillan, Chief Analytics and Data Officer, Morgan Stanley

Over 25 years ago, I left the U.S. Army to pursue a civilian career. I loved serving my country, but it was time to do something different. The military builds valuable skills, but often does not prepare veterans for the process of finding a job after leaving the service. Most transitioning veterans struggle with uncertainty over how to launch a new career, simply because no one has taught them the “do’s and don’ts” of identifying job opportunities, networking, interviewing, etc.

Based on my own experience and my time spent counseling hundreds of veterans in the years since, the following steps can help veterans determine what career direction to pursue and how to position themselves to employers as qualified candidates.

 

  1. Examine your skills and interests

Most individuals I speak to have little or no clue what they want to do post-military. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about being unsure, because it takes time and exploration to figure out what kinds of jobs might be a good fit for your interests and expertise. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • List the skills that set you apart from other candidates (make sure to use language that non-military people can understand). For example: “I know how to manage and motivate people.”
  • Next, describe the kind of work that you enjoy (or don’t). For example: “I get bored by routine work and like to tackle new issues/problems.”

It may take some time to gather and articulate these skills and interests. Your objective is to outline who you are and what you like. You will use this information as a point of reference for evaluating potential career opportunities.

  1. Research relevant opportunities

Once you have a sense of your skills and interests, use that knowledge to determine which roles suit you best. The best way to do this is by talking to a lot of people. Ask what they do, what they like and don’t like about their jobs, and what skills are necessary for success. After every conversation, ask yourself if the role you discussed is aligned with your skills and interests. Keep in mind that you’re not looking for a “perfect” job, but rather deepening your understanding of various career possibilities. Other useful resources include:

  • Job descriptions
  • Companies’ websites and mission statements
  • Relevant trade publications
  • Career fairs
  1. Determine whether you need further education

One of the first questions people ask when transitioning to non-military jobs is “Should I go back to school?”

The answer depends on what kind of career you decide to pursue. Some jobs require an advanced degree; for others, you’ll need a specialized certification. As you research opportunities, ask people about their educational backgrounds. Keep in mind that some (but not all) employers favor candidates who attended competitive or prestigious institutions. If you do go back to school, make an effort to excel—employers will look at your GPA.

  1. Develop a crisp and clear message

Many individuals leaving the military hesitate to self-promote, because they’ve been trained to put aside their egos for the benefit of the broader mission. But in the civilian world, if you don’t promote yourself, no one else will. As a job seeker, you need a simple, direct set of talking points that tells people what you want to do and why you’re a fit for the role in three minutes or less:

  • One minute on your background and differentiated skills
  • One minute on the opportunity you’re seeking
  • One minute on why you would be a great fit for the role

As you draft and refine your “elevator pitch,” remember to use language that non-military personnel can understand, and to connect your skills and interests to the role you are seeking in a way that demonstrates you understand the responsibilities the job entails.

  1. Find a mentor

A mentor is a trusted advisor who can help you learn about your field of choice, provide honest feedback and advice, make networking introductions, and generally serve as a sounding board during your job search. You can find a mentor among your existing connections, or look into American Corporate Partners, which offers free one-year mentorship programs for transitioning veterans. Be upfront with your mentor about how much time you’d like them to commit (such as a 30-minute meeting or phone call once a month), and prepare ahead of time to make your sessions as productive as possible.

Embarking on a new career after serving in the military can seem daunting or intimidating to even the most decorated veterans. Breaking the process down into manageable steps, laying a solid foundation based on your interests and skills, and leaning on others for guidance and support can help set you up for success.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management or its affiliates. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is a business of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC.

The Punniest Female on Instagram

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military spouse dubbed punniest on Instagram is pictured with the Puns in the background

Military spouse Angelica Hanley is behind the pun-based stationery brand ACouplePuns.

Angelica Hanley is a self-professed entrePUNeur, so when she found herself making up puns to describe the things she saw throughout the day, she decided to turn her love of puns into a shareable art form.

Thus, ACouplePuns was born and is now a rapidly growing online and wholesale greeting card shop connecting people through punny sentiments.

A card for every occasion imaginable, ACouplePuns delivers sweet messages accompanied by disarmingly darling drawings on superb card stock that is scored, folded and packaged by hand.

Her designs are inspired by travel, pop culture, and current trending topics.

She’s a military spouse who used a lifestyle of frequent moves to create a business she could take with her wherever she and her husband end up.

Angelica hold up some of her punniest cards
Via Instagram @ACouplePuns

Seeking a means to connect with people after a cross country move a couple years ago, Angelica launched ACouplePuns on Etsy with ten greeting card designs.

After just two years she has over 100 cards, which have landed on store shelves all over the country.

She has created custom cards for many popular female-founded brands such as Kendra Scott and also coordinated giveaways on Instagram.

Angelica enjoys sharing laughter through her cards and is building a community of fellow pun lovers she refers to on Instagram as “Punny People.”

She encourages you to share the puns you see with her at ACouplePuns to help inspire her latest creations!

Source: ACouplePuns, Instagram @ACouplePuns